×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Plex Is Talking to Studios to Bulk Up Its Content Offering

The company considered building its own streaming device 5 years ago.

Media center app maker Plex is in active conversations with studios and other content producers about distributing their programming to its users, CEO Keith Valory told Variety during a conversation at CES in Las Vegas this week. The company is exploring a variety of monetization models, which include advertising and micro-subscriptions, he said.

Plex used to be primarily known as a solution for consumers with large personal media collections on their hard drives. Over the past few years, the company has added a variety of additional content sources, including a DVR to record over-the-air broadcast TV, podcasts, personalized news and web shows.

Most recently, Plex launched a partnership with Tidal to integrate the music streamer’s catalog into its own apps, where paying Tidal subscribers can now mix cloud-based music streaming with their personal MP3 collections. “The early signs are all really good,” Valory said about the Tidal partnership.

However, music was just a first test case for integrating subscriptions into Plex, he said. “There will be more of those.” At the same time, Plex is also exploring ad-supported distribution models for premium content.

Valory didn’t want to reveal any specific upcoming integrations yet, but said that the company was effectively focused on bulking up its catalog with movies, TV shows and live content. “Our business is video-driven,” he said.

By offering video subscriptions through its own app, Plex would effectively be competing with the likes on Amazon and Roku, which both resell subscription video services on their platforms. Compared to those, the company may still be relatively unknown in Hollywood — but it’s not necessarily a small contender. Plex doesn’t release any monthly usage stats, but Valory said that the company had 20 million sign-ups and a loyal user base. “We’ve got millions of people using our product every month.”

Interestingly, Plex chief product officer Scott Olechowski credited Netflix with the fact that Plex has become so ubiquitous on a wide variety of streaming devices. That’s because a little over 5 years ago, the Plex team seriously considered building its own TV streaming hardware. The company was even experimenting with Arduinos to figure out what a Plex box could look like.

But at around the same time, Netflix tightened its requirements for hardware manufacturers, and stopped integrating its app into devices that wouldn’t ship to a significant number of customers out of the gate — numbers that were out of reach for a startup like Plex. “That decided it for us,” recalled Olechowski.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content